Neal Haddaway

There is much we do not know. 
The precise hows, the whens.
But we do know what is coming.
We know it will get much, much worse,
and we know that there are ways to slow it down.
To reduce the worst of it, to protect the most vulnerable.

We know these solutions are being ignored whilst the obscenely rich get richer.
We are only beginning to feel the edges of grief.
We feel it just as we search for a broken tooth with our tongue.

Yet there is hope.
Not a passive, faithful hope,
but an active hope.
Hope driven by peaceful resistance,
by public protest.
Bold actions
before time runs out.

– Neal Haddaway, November 2023

Gnost · algia: The Pain of Knowing” explores what it means to know what is coming in an age of climate breakdown. It aims to provide catharsis by sharing of climate anxiety,  naming our emotions, and understanding of the universality of the human experience - that we are not alone in our feelings and what we feel has been experienced before.

The work takes the form of a short film, a book, and a physical exhibition.

Explore below to find out more.

According to the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, “climate breakdown has begun”, and the scientific community agrees that we now face “a systemic, existential threat”.

In 2023, we have experienced seemingly unending climate records: the lowest level of Antarctic sea ice in January; a heatwave in the Antarctic of 39°C in March, the highest temperature anomaly ever recorded; global surface air temperatures 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels in June; Florida sea temperatures of an unprecedented 38.4 °C in July, indicating an extremely high likelihood of extensive coral mortality; a heat index of 70 °C in coastal Iran in August.

As we forge head-long into a climate emergency, those of us who know what is coming are increasingly affected by climate emotions, also referred to as climate anxiety. For some people, anger can be motivating, whilst others can become paralysed into inaction. Grief and hope are typically opposing emotions, but acknowledging their duality and accepting the existence of both simultaneously is an important mechanism for processing our emotions and finding solace as we face the worsening planetary crises.

This project combines trees as a visual metaphor for connection with place and nature with untranslatable words as a metaphor for the universal experience and the importance of minority and Indigenous cultures in the fight against the planetary crisis.

“This is not a travel guide
but an elegy. A memorial.
You’re holding a tombstone in your hands.
A bloody rock.
Don’t drop it on your foot -
throw it at something big and glassy.
What do you have to lose?”

– Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire


Book walkthrough:

Sample exhibition (University of the Arts Grad Show, November 2023):

© Neal Haddaway 2024 / Photojournalism and Documentary Photography  /  United Kingdom